Parish News

News Bulletin for 20 July 5th Sunday of Trinity

St Peter’s Church

St Peter’s Church



Volume 4, Number 30 Friday 18th July 2014



Radio 4 gives much to enjoy, but it can sometimes be bad for my blood pressure: not least when it betrays the Beeb's wilful ignorance of anything to do with Christianity. The standard of its religious reporting is wretchedly simplistic, and makes me wonder how far they dumb down the rest of our news. This morning, the Today programme proclaimed that the Church of England is "banishing the Devil" from its "Christening ceremony." Once again, the feckless C of E kowtows to secular modernity. Never mind the fact that we offer the sacrament of Baptism, and not "Christening ceremonies," whatever they are; nor that the Church has simply approved one new optional liturgy which does not mention the Devil in addition to the existing ones which all do; nor that the Book of Common Prayer in its 1662 manifestation remains the normative standard of our liturgy and doctrine, in which the Devil is most vehemently and explicitly rejected. No, forget all that: the addition of one new, perhaps misguided, order of Baptism to the liturgical canon (which will probably barely be used) is simply not as newsworthy as the BBC's fabricated version of events, viz. "the Church has gone to the dogs."


And so we should not be surprised that the bigger news of the week is treated with the same declination of forehead. The Church has finally decided to consecrate women as bishops. In any moment of controversy like this, the media likes to find two clear sides, however complicated the debate may really be: the wheat and the tares, one might say. For the BBC, this means the wheat who support women's ordination, and the tares who don't. The wheat are secular modernists who want to move the Church with the times, nice progressive types like those who run the BBC. The tares are the cassocked Neanderthals of the Anglo-Catholic movement and the swivel-eyed Bible-bashers from the Evangelical fold.


This is a myth that, to be fair, some of the debatably monikered "traditionalists" also buy into. Anyone who disagrees with them is a vassal of secularism and traitor to the true faith, whether it's the Catholic faith according to the Roman Curia or the Bible-based faith of the fundamentalists. If you support the ordination of women, you're just a woolly, liberal sell-out.


The truth is not that simple. There are indeed some nasty misogynists among the antis and there are also barely Christian secularists among the proponents of women's ordination: I've even heard some say that we need female bishops to get women into "senior management of the Church," which makes me want to vomit. It's hardly the job description St Ignatius of Antioch would give the successors of the Apostles.


For the most part, though, both the pros and antis are genuinely seeking to discern God's way and walk in his truth, as this Sunday's Psalm has it (87.11). There are Evangelicals whose reading of the Bible does not allow for women to lead. There are Anglo-Catholics who cannot countenance unilaterally changing the episcopate of the Holy Catholic Church (of which the English church has always claimed to be part) when the rest of the bishops of the worldwide Church oppose that change. But then, there are Evangelicals who read Scripture quite differently, and prioritise the teachings and life of Jesus over some minority texts in Paul; and there are Anglo-Catholics who would argue that our church has made many unilateral decisions in the past, and its Catholicity does not depend on a majority decision of foreign bishops. For my part, I think that this week's decision was the logical and right one, and Christian and biblical to boot; but I cannot bring myself to crack open the champagne over an action which fractures the Church any further and, for the time being at least, jeopardises any hopes of reunion with the wider Catholic Church.


Coming back to this Sunday's Gospel (Mt 13.24ff.), it is sad that not just outsiders but so many of us Christians still see each other as wheat or tares: there are fellow Anglicans who are quite sure that those of us who support women's ordination will be gathered up for the bonfire at the end of the ages. Despite all this, the Church of England remains unified at least in its liturgy of "Common" Worship (not as common as it used to be in the BCP days, sadly, but there we go). We should, for the most part, all be praying the same Collect this Sunday, which happens rather fortuitously to be for vocation:


"Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name."


This, at least, redirects the spotlight of vocation away from the clergy and back to where it belongs: that is, on "all faithful people," every Christian, ordained or otherwise. We each have our vocation to serve the Church however God might call us. One may or may not believe that women are truly called to be priests or bishops, but none can doubt that they are called, as we all are, to something. So whatever our theological positions, we should all unite at least in praying for the best fulfilment of everyone's Christian vocation in the Church today: that, in the words of the old Prayer Book collect, "Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in all godly quietness." Surely that, over and above who is or isn't called to Holy Orders, is the point.

Fr Tom Plant



YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED + Alan, Bp of St Albans +Justin, Archbishop

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines & Bishop Edward Pacyaya Malecdan


Christina Billington, Judith Hill, Len Bennett, Priscilla Coombs, Gavin Atkins, Michael McKenna, Irene Taylor, Yvonne Rix, Baby Hetty and family, Pearl Wiggins, Helen Steen, Anna Gibbs, Daniel Hale, Nicola Bush, Omid Tataie and family, Ted Lewis, Ron Fisher



8:00am Eucharist Pr Fr John Russell

9:30am Sung Eucharist Pr Fr John Russell

6:00pm Evening Prayer Nathan Mulcock



Morning Prayer Monday– Friday 8:00am, Saturday 9:30am.

Eucharist Monday 6:00pm; Tuesday 9:30am at All Saints’ Shrublands Road; Wednesday 8:30am; No Thursday Eucharist; Saturday 10:00am

Evening Prayer Monday – Saturday 5:00pm



The Parish Clergy

Fr Tom Plant, Curate

Fr John Russell

Rev Penny Nash

The Parish Musicians
Adrian Davis, Director of Music

Jonathan Lee, organist

Jean Wild, Assistant Dir. of Music


The Parish Administration Staff
Hilary Armstrong and Kate Perera



Further details to follow.

ROAD WORKS ON CASTLE STREET: We have been advised by Affinity water that work will start on July 25 for approximately four weeks to replace water pipes on Castle Street. This may mean interruption of water supplies from time to time in the church and possibly in the Court House – we will be told in advance if this is going to happen. More significantly, there will be road works which will mean interruption to traffic flow and probably make it difficult to park on Castle Street itself. If you are coming down to the church to work or worship and can possibly come on foot it may be a better option! (Reminder: the car park is not available for church use during working hours on weekdays.)


The Parish Office will not be open regular hours from now until September.

Please call us on 878227 before coming in.

Text Box:  4th Berkhamsted Brownies needs new leaders. We are looking for some new adult volunteers to help run this successful brownie group which takes up to 24 brownies aged 7-10 years. We are an active group offering a broad and exciting programme including overnight stays, shelter building in the forest, litter picking in the community, the chance to meet some snakes (and their owner!), specialist arts and crafts sessions and much more. You don’t need previous experience in Girlguiding as full training is provided. We meet in the Court House on Mondays, during term time, from 6pm – 7.15 p.m. If you would like to find out more about the role please contact Nicola Fulcher or for more information about Girlguiding please visit












Fourth B’sted Brownies


Nicola Fulcher, 878172

Mondays in term-time, 6:00pm in the Court House


Mon 21 July







Mothers’ Union Prayers


Margaret Burbidge 862139

2.30pm at Jennie Budd’s, 120 Valley Road, Northchurch. Prayer requests to Tracy Robinson, tel: 863559


Tues 22 July

Julian Meeting


Ruth T-B 863268

Meet for about half an hour of quiet prayer. All are welcome. 3 Sherwood Mews, Park Street

Wed 23 July


Lectio Divina


Nathan Mulcock

An hour of quiet and prayerful reading of sacred texts. 7:30pm in St Peter’s

Wed 23 July






Little Fishes


Tracy Robinson 863559

No meeting: end of term

Fri 25 July







Cowper Society presents: Summer Strawberry Sing in aid of hearing dogs for the deaf


Sat 19 July


Cowper Society presents: Berkhamsted Choral Society concert

Sat 6 Sept


Cowper Society presents: Organ Recital, grand opening of the new series – Andrew Lucas

Sat 20 Sep


Cowper Society presents Bridgewater Sinfonia concert

Sat 27 Sept






St Peter’s Oktoberfest Bierfest

4/5 Oct